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New rules to support players in local women’s league approved

The MFA approved new rules for local women's football. Photo: Lara Schembri

The Malta Football Association Executive Board approved a new set of regulations related to female professional players that will see them provide better support in their football careers.

The approval was held during the first meeting of the 2023-24 season of the Executive Board which is set to continue to chart the strategic and regulatory course for Maltese football.

During the meeting, Malta FA president Bjorn Vassallo reminded members of their rights and obligations within the decision-making body.

In his address, he underscored the importance of collaboration and unity in driving the sport forward.

“Our goal is to promote and protect the interests of all our clubs and member associations. We are here to ensure that football in Malta thrives, and for that, each member must actively contribute and uphold their responsibilities,” Vassallo said.

The Malta FA Executive Board, with its diverse composition representing different interests in the game, holds the potential to bring about positive changes in various aspects of Maltese football. Its strategic focus is expected to encompass areas such as youth development, infrastructure improvement, competitive balance, and the overall growth of the sport.

FIFA rules

During the meeting, the Board approved a set of regulations related to female professional players. These regulations align with existing FIFA rules which aim to promote gender equality and support women in their careers as athletes.

Significantly, female players will be entitled to maternity leave during their contract term. Clubs will also have the possibility of registering a player outside the regular registration periods to temporarily replace another female player who has taken maternity leave.

Under these rules, any unilateral termination of a contract by a club based on a player’s pregnancy, maternity leave, or related rights will be considered unjustified.

Female athletes will be given certain rights during pregnancy, including determining the level of access to sporting services on the basis of medical advice, opportunities for alternate employment, the right to return to activity, and the possibility of breastfeeding, thereby fostering an inclusive and supportive environment for female professionals in the sports industry.

Amongst the regulations that the Board approved, there were updates to Nursery Licensing Regulations and the introduction of the Football Agents Regulations, which are based on the recent reform of this sector undertaken at FIFA level.

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